March 24, 2013

Editorial: SUNY scores a huge coup

News that the State University of New York may soon create its 65th campus — the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering — is welcome in that it confirms what we’ve all been hearing for a number of years: that this groundbreaking institution is enjoying runaway success.

The college has been part of the University at Albany.

Nanoscale science and engineering are terms applied to a growing field that transcends popular knowledge. It has been around, in one form or another, for a little more than 50 years but is taking off in recent years.

Scientists began realizing that, as they could observe atomic structures, they could actually influence them — control them, alter them and even re-create them. The results may not yet be fully known, but, in lay terms, one of the benefits might be to create new, better and more useful materials by changing their atomic makeup.

Understandably, this is an entire new realm of science with unlimited possibilities — educationally, commercially, industrially and socially.

Then-Gov. Mario Cuomo was among the first important politicians to recognize the potential for leading the inquiries into this vast, uncharted field. Thanks to his enterprise, the University at Albany has now become the center of America’s entry into nanotechnology.

The UAlbany is the largest and perhaps the most advanced center for learning and development, in partnership with industrial giants such as IBM, Intel, Samsung and Toshiba.

Drive past the Nanotech complex at Washington Avenue and Fuller Road in Albany, and you’ll be impressed at the sight of an ultra-modern series of buildings that clearly are beyond conventional academic pursuits.

Up and down the eastern border of New York state, from New York City to Plattsburgh, communities are trying to find ways to take advantage of their proximity to this burgeoning, infant science.

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